Let's Go Fishing Report

Monterey Bay

Cody Frank from Aptos displays a recent halibut catch with crazy pigmentation. He says “It tastes the same!"
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing

by Allen Bushnell

We have good news and bad news this week. The good news first: salmon season in our area will open as re-scheduled, on May 1, 2020. And, the Santa Cruz Harbor is allowing limited access to the trailer boat launch ramp for recreational anglers, albeit with some stiff limitations. That brings us to the bad news. Monterey Harbor and Moss Landing Harbor launch ramps remain closed to recreational boat launching this weekend, deferring the decision until after the current end-date of SIP May 3, 2020. 

Renewed launch ramp use in Santa Cruz will be limited to county residents that have previously purchased an annual launch permit or whose boats are currently in dry storage at the Santa Cruz Harbor. Make sure to check the harbor website for official updates. Santa Cruz Port Commissioner Dennis Smith spoke briefly on the matter saying, “We’re doing what we can to get anglers out on the water, This could be considered a ‘soft opening,’ to provide this service while adhering to the County shelter in place regulations.” Boat owners who are able to take advantage of the launch ramp opening are urged to observe all social distancing courtesies and to be patient, efficient and quick while using the ramp and staging in the area.

In the “good news/bad news” category, the health department in Santa Cruz issued an update on Wednesday stating, “Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel is expected to issue new restrictions limiting daily beach activities. While beaches remain available only for recreational activities to promote physical and mental health, beginning this weekend, beaches will off-limits for all activities between the hours of 11 a.m.-5 p.m.”

Surfcasting is not mentioned specifically in this update but fits comfortably within this definition provided by the health department. “Water-based activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, boogie boarding, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking will not be impacted by the order. Beaches may be traversed to participate in these activities.”

It remains to be seen how many hungry salmon are out there eager to get to the net, but there’s plenty of other fish if you can get out. Halibut fishing has been good up and down the Bay. Rock cod and lings are on the bite. Surf casting is getting better and better, especially from the beaches closer to the Salinas and Pajaro Rivers. Surfcasters are hooking surf perch and striped bass using the plentiful live sand crabs, as well as GULP! sandworms, and by throwing the usual variety of striper lures in the surf.

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